It's completely out of character. It's not like her at all. She doesn't date athletes, and she's not very religious. But there is something about Tim Tebow that turns Kylie Burness, 22, into a giddy teen.
"He embodies everything that your father would want their daughter to marry," she coos.
He's hot, she explains, but he's safe, too.
There are plenty of good-looking, young athletes with as much money as Midas in the sports world. But the 23-year-old Denver Broncos quarterback who played only a handful of games in his rookie season, has an almost cultlike following among women drawn to his squeaky-clean image.
He's the "whole package," said LaRae Goldsmith, 18 and incoming freshman at CSU. He's passionate, sincere, dedicated. "Those type of characteristics are hugely attractive, and hard to come by alone — star QB, dedicated Christian, devoted family man, published author, and renowned philanthropist status aside."
Tebow has posed for Jockey; won a Heisman Trophy as a sophomore at the University of Florida — the first to do so; and just released an autobiography, "Tim Tebow: Through My Eyes."
And throughout it all, he has branded himself as the corn-fed kid from around the corner, the kind of suitor who will always knock on the front door and shake the father's hand — rather than scale the trellis into his daughter's window.
And this, almost more than anything, has gotten a lot of women's attention. In a world of scandal-
plagued athletes, like Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant, Tebow stands out. He's the opposite of everything movies have lead us to believe: that tattoos and a motorcycle will make women swoon.
In Tebow, the nice guy is finally getting a break.
"I think there is a backlash operating here in the minds of many of the fans," said Stanley Teitelbaum, author of "Sports Heroes, Fallen Idols." ''In this case, it's many of the women fans who are tired of being disillusioned with the sports heroes they look up to, which leaves them deflated and abandoned."
Teitelbaum reasons that women have grown tired of placing their hearts in the hands of guys who get accused of attacking women in hotels or tomcatting around town.
"Tebow represents more of the hope," he said. "He is someone they can invest in because he's less likely to let them down or mistreat them — at least in their fantasies."
And to back it up with some statistics, Tebow replaced Roethlisberger — who was accused of sexual assault — as the top selling football jersey in 2010.
Of course, there's the religion thing too: Every chapter in Tebow's book starts with a Bible verse; he does missionary work; was featured in an anti-abortion commercial during the Super Bowl; has said he's a virgin and will remain one until he's married.
And so girls can feel comfy tacking his poster on their walls, their approving parents nodding in the background. Tebow has been approved by Christians as one of their own, and people like 24-year-old Jenna Berman, who flew in from Omaha to attend Tebow's recent Denver book signing — feel they finally have someone on their side, someone in the mainstream who doesn't mind sticking up for devout Christian ideals.
"In the past, when people have taken on that role, they have done it from their own ground, keeping their feet firmly in the Christian world and pointing fingers," said Daniel Radosh, who has written extensively on Christianity in pop culture and contributes to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
But Radosh warns that such a high pulpit makes for a bigger fall. What happens if Tebow, like so many professional athletes, transforms like a beast under a full moon, goes crazy with the glow of stardom and the scent of money?
"I don't see him getting to that point, where money or the fame would get to him," Burness, a longtime fan, said. "It would have already gotten to him."
But if it did?
"Tebow is putting himself in a position where he is a representative of (the Christian) community," Radosh said. "And should there be any infraction — even one that most people might overlook — his Christian fan-base might turn on him very hard."
But maybe it has nothing to do with religion.
Nadia Ahmad, 31, grew up in Gainesville, Fla., close to where Tebow did. She has watched him play since high school and through his college career and jokes that she urged her husband to take a job in Colorado when she found out the Broncos drafted Tebow. She said she even bought a living room set — a couch and some end tables — from the same place Tebow did when she moved here.
Ahmad is Muslim and thinks sometimes Tebow can go overboard with the preaching. But she respects his passion.
Ahmad said her son was born prematurely and with complications, sort of like Tebow was. Her son had to stay in a neonatal intensive- care unit for five weeks because he couldn't maintain body temperature. When she called to check up on him from home, because of privacy concerns, she had to use a password; so she chose Tebow.
"In my mind at the time, if (Tebow) can grow up and be a big strong football player, and with my son the way he was, I was just kind of hoping for the same."
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